Apple's iOS 14.5 App Tracking Update Released, Twitter Imagines Marks Zuckerberg's Fury

Twitter users have posted memes about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after Apple introduced an iPhone update that allows users to limit how much they are tracked for advertising purposes.

The operating system update, called iOS 14.5, was rolled out on Monday. It includes a new feature called AppTrackingTransparency, which will prompt iPhone users whenever an app wants to track them or access their phone's advertising identifier.

Users can choose to allow the app to track them, or refuse. When users refuse, apps could get less access to user data which could make advertising less targeted.

For companies like Facebook, analysts say this may present a problem because tracking user data is a core part of their business model.

Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook do not necessarily see eye to eye according to a recent New York Times report. It claimed the two executives met in 2019 to discuss privacy and could not agree on a solution to Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, citing anonymous sources with knowledge of the conversation. Newsweek has contacted Facebook for comment.

Cook had allegedly told Zuckerberg to delete any information Facebook had collected about users outside of its core apps.

Two years on, Facebook is not happy about Apple's new privacy update, according to a statement it supplied to the New York Times. It read: "Free, ad-supported services have been essential to the growth and vitality of the internet, but Apple is trying to rewrite the rules in a way that benefits them and holds back everyone else."

Twitter users have imagined an unhappy Zuckerberg reacting to the news.

A live look at Tim Cook pushing the “release iOS 14.5” button, knowing what Mark Zuckerberg is feeling rn. pic.twitter.com/ThydAx8Dde

— Sami Fathi (@SamiFathi_) April 26, 2021

Apple : releases iOS 14.5

Mark Zuckerberg: pic.twitter.com/1eMMQiWUED

— Shivam Chatak (@ShivamChatak) April 26, 2021

Mark Zuckerberg coming back from lunch to find out iOS 14.5 is live: pic.twitter.com/y7ek99tIW4

— PCMag (@PCMag) April 26, 2021

Facebook has publicly criticized the update, even taking out full-page newspaper adverts in which it claims it is "standing up to Apple" against the privacy tool on behalf of small businesses who rely on users' data to find new customers with ads.

A photo of what appeared to be one of the adverts was uploaded to Twitter last year, and reads: "While limiting how personalized ads can be used does impact larger companies like us, these changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now."

Taking the opposing view, Cook said in a privacy conference in Brussels earlier this year, without mentioning Facebook by name: "If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform."

Facebook is not the only tech company potentially set to be hit by the AppTrackingTransparency update, also referred to as IDFA changes.

Snapchat CFO Derek Andersen said in a Q4 2020 earnings report that Apple's privacy changes "present another risk of interruption to demand", adding the impact of the changes may not be clear for months.

That said, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman added: "The reality is we admire Apple, and we believe that they are trying to do the right thing for their customers."

Meanwhile Unity, a software development platform, said in its Q4 2020 report it expects revenues to be reduced by approximately $30 million due to Apple's iOS14 privacy updates.

Mark Zuckerberg speaking
Mark Zuckerberg speaking at the VivaTech start-up and technology gathering on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France. Facebook has criticised Apple's iOS privacy update citing concerns over how it could affect businesses. Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty